Featured Artist Friday: Chris Rivers


When we saw the posters proclaiming the fact that Chris Rivers was coming to town obviously we thought it was some form of cruel prank. The man has been setting the underground hip hop scene on fire and could easily go over on talent, skill and passion alone. Couple this with the fact that he is the son of Big Pun and there is every reason why you should already be well aware of this dragonbreathed firespitter.

The Winchester in Bournemouth triangle is a venue without equal and its varied and amazing roster of hosted nights from every spectrum and genre mean we’re fairly regular patrons but this was one night in particular that couldn’t be missed. Boogaloo events team certainly put in work bringing this incredible bunch of talented individuals together and we’ll be sure to stay tuned as to what they have planned in the future.

Firstly we’d like to thank the incredible support over the course of the evening, there were so many talented lyricists and beatmakers on the stage. If any of you are reading this get in touch we’d love to hear more. The levels on the mic and sound meant that unfortunately until the more seasoned veterans took to the stage it was a little hard to make out every bar and lyric but what we did see and hear was more than enough to peak our interest.

We’ve been repping High Focus for a long time as any connoisseur of intelligent lyricism no doubt has been. The calibre of the MC’s affiliated with Fliptrix and the rest of the owls is undoubted and Smellington Piff has been on our radar for that reason. Seeing him live was an added bonus and again much love has to go to Boogaloo for putting this together, the night had a transatlantic feel and it was a blast seeing what both sides of the pond have to offer by way of real hip hop.

When Sean Strange took to the stage the party really started this is a dude that has energy and emotion by the bucket load and knows how to channel it. He viciously tour through song after song working the crowd over like a punching bag. Everyone in attendence left the evening with the refrain of “Nah Bro” wormed solidly into their head.

The crowd was well hyped both by Sean Strange’s set and the inevitable buzz of anticipation they’d brought along with them in the first place by the time Chris Rivers finally took to the stage. The man is incredibly humble in the flesh and started his set off with a quick homage to his pops gunning out a quick shout out and -that- little Italy bar. You know the one, the one that every little hip hop head heard for the first time and immediately pressed rewind on the track to make sure they heard it right. The set was an excellent back and forth between Rivers and Whispers his co-collaborator and the two had an incredibly comfortable relationship, even splitting the crowd down the middle for a tongue in cheek rap battle in the middle filled with some unforgettable digs and wordplay. The interaction throughout the show was not forced and Rivers clearly already knows how to work a crowd. Above all else though it was the flow and lyricism that shone throughout and Whispers and Rivers have both in spades. We’re not going to nerd out about the assonance, dissonance,  internal rhyme and intricate spitting on display but we assure you if you go and have a listen yourself you’re going to be suitably impressed.

Hip hop is a genre that struggles to find its wings a little live sometimes, whether it’s inaudible sound levels making the verses blurry or a lacklustre approach and inattention to showmanship sometimes it can fail to make an impression. Chris Rivers however knows how to let his music soar live, pumping it full of energy and passion. The words take flight from the stage and circle the enthralled audience’s ears leaving them feeling giddy and dizzy, high as a kite off of this premium level of lyricism and respect for the art form. Honestly, we felt the same awe and inspiration as we did the first time we pumped out Twinz and got hit for the first time by the same little Italy line that started this show off. What more can you ask for?

Rivers spent the entire show out in the crowd manning the merch table and took genuine pleasure meeting and talking with the amassed appreciators. We couldn’t resist jumping over and getting our hands on the Medicated Consumption mixtape. It’s been on constant rotation every day since and there isn’t a weak song on the album.

‘What For’ is a little slice of hiphop perfection. Definitely one of our favourite tracks of the mixtape. What’s yours?

Were you at the show? What did you think? What did we miss? We’d love to hear your comments.

What else should we check out in the Bournemouth area?

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